Filing status, such as single, head of household, married filing separately or jointly, and others, can greatly influence the amount of money you receive in your refund. Filing status may change if you divorce or lose a spouse to death, for example, and this may make you eligible for a larger refund.
In general, married couples may expect a larger tax refund if they file jointly. Filing a joint return tends to lower the overall tax bill and can offer some tax breaks unavailable to those filing separately. There are some reasons, however, that a couple may want to file separately, according to Sandra Block, who writes a column for USA Today. Block suggests that a couple should consider filing separately if they have a large amount of unreimbursed medical expenses, more than average amount of miscellaneous deductions or if one spouse is behind on child support or student loan debts.
Block also suggests that if your spouse takes risks that are out of your comfort zone and have the potential for legal ramifications, you may want to file separately so that your nose — or tax return — stays clean.